5 April 2006 | didier-20
ONE major flaw of the Heimat trilogy......
I've posted this comment on Heimat 3 after sitting through all the Heimats over the past 3 months. It is of course excellent cinema, perhaps there is no need to explain why, considering it's fame. I have one major criticism of the director's vision, The whole work is cleansed of minorities.
I began to find this troubling about 2/3s of the way through Heimat 2. It struck me as an outrage that the bohemian "salon" & it's circle of bright young things in Munich in which Herman lived whilst a student was completely devoid of any gay representation. Unthinkable, considering it's exactly the sort of situation in which gay people would have been welcomed & to which they would have gravitated. I found this absence unforgivable by the end of Heimat 2. I got annoyed by the repeated variations of heterosexual love that were being depicted.
There was a great injustice in this exclusion. I felt the same in Heimat 3 about ethnic minorities. Here, the film moves firmly into the familiar contemporary life of big cities. Berlin is a city of ethnic variation. As the film's main theme came to the fore like a great wave; namely the aim to reclaim back from fascism the right of Germans to consider what it means to be German and to celebrate that relationship of people to place, the absence of racial representation struck me as inherently suspect, even sinister. There were 2 very very brief images of black Americans as iconic emblems of 'other', of 'not us' therefore acceptable, even exotic, liberating. There was also a very brief image of a group of Indian boys silently working in a sweat shop. This last image is suspect, because Germans traditionally envied the idea of Britain's colonial empire & this image evokes a German simulation of a Raj they never had. At the very least the image feeds into the existence of that National envy.
White ethnicity is covered. The proximity to the former USSR & former Eastern Europe provides characters who show us this European condition of multiple boundaries & how they contribute to ideas of national identity. But somehow it still portrays a localised preoccupation with notions of racial purity & belonging. That kind of thinking which is fundamentally blind to 'difference' is a cul de sac. I felt the director was somehow giving permission to think like this over & above questioning thinking of this kind.
All the people who are given place in the story are essentially good people. They are liberal, kind, intelligent, angry feeling people. But they are all white & heterosexual & the patriarchal flows through their lives. Even the revolution of the sixties depicted the fury of the establishment liberal but failed to portray any minority. I found this unacceptable. It's the one tremendous flaw in this work & for me these absences are as huge as the trilogy itself. It distorts reality, and raises questions about subliminal fascism in what the director selects when posing this very big idea. Is the frustration of the Liberal German really it's failure to abandon a mental "homeland" that consists of traditional heterosexual whiteness ?